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Deer Run golf course owners near Casselberry seek rezoning for residential development

An aerial map showing the latest rezoning site plan for the proposed 213-lot subdivision on 138 acres at 300 Daneswood Way.
An aerial map showing the latest rezoning site plan for the proposed 213-lot subdivision on 138 acres at 300 Daneswood Way. (Seminole County Property Appraiser/Seminole County)

A sprawling 138-acre golf course near Casselberry, which closed last summer, is being re-imagined as a new residential subdivision with hundreds of single-family homes.

The owners of the Deer Run County Club just submitted a rezoning and major amendment application in Seminole County seeking to develop a 213-lot single-family home community on the former golf course playing grounds at 300 Daneswood Way.

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Danalee Petyk, a senior planner at Seminole County, told GrowthSpotter the project is undergoing staff review. The rezoning and major amendment request went before county staff last week at Development Review Committee meeting.

Petyk said, before plans go forward to public hearings, the applicant must first address some review comments during a technical staff-level discussion, such as identifying drainage ponds and open space areas and clearly showing the flood plain and wetlands area that will remain.

A photo of the 138-acre Deer Run County Club golf course in relation to surrounding residential communities.
A photo of the 138-acre Deer Run County Club golf course in relation to surrounding residential communities. (Seminole County Property Appraiser)

The property contains about 29 acres of existing wetlands, lakes and ponds. The applicant’s traffic analysis study is being reviewed by Seminole County’s Public Works Department.

The earliest Seminole County’s Planning and Zoning Board could view this application would be in October.

The 18-hole golf course closed last summer. Investors Robert Dello Russo, Howard Barton and Al Gatti together paid $1.5 million for the property in 2002, under the company name Golf Enterprises of Central Florida.

The business partners also own the Country Club at Mount Dora and Wekiva Golf Club in Longwood, but over the last five years, the group has been working to sell off some of its golf course and country club inventory.

The new owners told GrowthSpotter they are pursuing options to carve out some of the golf course land for future residential development.

In 2015, the group sold the Casselberry Golf Club to the City of Casselberry for $2.2 million, and in 2017 they sold the Twin Rivers golf course in Oviedo for a little more than $4.9 million. Both courses remain open under city ownership.

Dello Russo and Gatti did not respond to request for comment. Barton respectfully declined to comment on the story.

Plans for the 213-lot subdivision call for a minimum lot width of 75 feet and privileges to build up to two stories in height. Houses must be a minimum of 1,200 square feet.

Prior to the golf course closing, a neighboring resident created a citizen action group called Save Deer Run, that has garnered the support of many surrounding residents and neighborhoods in opposition to redevelopment plans.

“Simply put, we believe that Deer Run can’t afford or sustain this additional development. We are fighting to keep our undeveloped spaces open and green,” the website says.

In recent years, golf course owners have typically wrestled with the rising expense of maintaining greens against diminishing revenue of golf courses as it competes with new industry players like Topgolf, a Texas-based entertainment and technology-themed firm.

The developer intends to take control of 72.5 acres of land that includes portions of the existing golf course and clubhouse.

As a result, many golf courses have closed or been sold for redevelopment.

Miami-based Westside Capital Group is planning a $1 billion mixed-use development on the former 128-acre Lake Orlando Golf Club at 3901 South Lake Orlando Parkway.

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Some developers, like Park Square Homes, intend to develop only a portion of golf course grounds, like what it is planning to do with the Hunter’s Creek Golf Course near the Orange-Osceola County boundary line.

Coconut Grove-based development firm Eden Multifamily also only plans to build 250 apartments on part of the Stoneybrook East Golf Club in east Orlando. And Orlando-based Benge Development Corporation is looking to build 304 single family homes on part of the Eastwood Golf Club.

Other golf courses have sat unused for years until a developer comes along.

The dormant Silver Lake Golf and Country Club in Leesburg closed in 2008, and sat untouched until Richard Wohlfarth of Wohlfarth Consulting Group began construction of its planned 233-home subdivision last year.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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